Final Word from Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Czech journalists have done investigative reports on offshore ownership schemes that use London addresses as their base, but the reports have never gone farther than a few articles. Now The Guardian of the U.K. has taken up the issue in a multipart series, and this will be disturbing news for many businesspeople and some politicians. The Guardian pinpointed one London address, 5th Floor 86 Jermyn Street, that is home to hundreds of companies. The beneficial owners are concealed behind nominee directors and are linked to other companies in such places as the British Virgin Islands, Nevis or Belize. A quick search of the internet shows that in 2004 Veolia Water bought Středočeské vodárny from Greenhils Limited, which was registered at this address. The problem with such untransparent deals is that long after they are forgotten, the paper trail remains for some inquisitive person to retrace.[Czech Republic United Kingdom water treatment plant utility]

Glossary of difficult words

offshore company - a company incorporated in a foreign country where there is little government control;

to pinpoint - to find or locate exactly;

beneficial owner - the entity that enjoys the possession or benefits of ownership of a property even though its ownership is in the name of another entity;

nominee director - a person appointed by another to act on his behalf in a limited capacity or specific way;

inquisitive - curious or inquiring.

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